Apple has been making a concerted effort to improve the iPhone’s fortunes in China with a number of initiatives, but that might not be enough to reverse a feeling in the country that using an iPhone is now seen as ’embarrassing’.

The news comes via a new report from the South China Morning Post which tells us that Apple may find itself negatively impacted by the ongoing trade war between the United States and China.

Users feel that the blacklisting of Huawei is enough to increase the move to boycott Apple as a result. The report is of the belief that while Huawei will suffer short term, the longer term effects on Apple’s business will be greater.

For Sam Li, who works at a state-owned telecom company in Beijing, switching from Apple to Huawei was also driven by an emotion. “It’s kind of embarrassing to pull an iPhone out of your pocket nowadays when all the company executives use Huawei” […]

“Switch to Huawei! Hate those hypocrites,” a Chinese e-commerce start-up founder said after reposting news on WeChat. “The era of 5G has arrived. Huawei has far more cutting-edge technologies than Apple,” said the man who did not give his name.

The report continues by saying that the “love for Huawei” within China will continue to increase in the face of what is felt to be unfair pressure from the United States. That sentiment will impact Apple, with customers moving away from the brand and towards one of the country’s own.

While the US export ban threatens to cripple the Shenzhen-based company in the short term, ongoing nationalist sentiment at home could play to Huawei’s favour and hurt Apple’s sales in China, according to analysts.

“Chinese consumers’ love for Huawei can only increase because of the ban,” said Kiranjeet Kaur, senior research manager at IDC Asia Pacific. “Unless of course hardware supply chain constraints affect the roll-out of its phones locally.”

Last year, Huawei shipped 206 million smartphones, 105 million in mainland China, accounting for 26.4 per cent of the domestic market, IDC data shows. In comparison, Apple ranked fifth in the country with a 9.1 per cent share. In the first quarter, that fell further to 7 per cent compared to a 3 per cent share gain for Huawei, according to Counterpoint

However, Apple remains one of the biggest luxury brands around and there will always be people who want to buy its iPhones, regardless of the ongoing tensions between the United States and China. But it’s clear that it’s another headache that Apple’s already flagging reputation in the country could definitely do without.

(Source: SCMP)

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